Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: Psychic Tarot

In recent months as I've been finishing the first draft and moving on to the second draft of my own tarot book I've been taking the time to read more of the newer tarot books that have been coming out. I have been a longtime fan of books like Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack and Mary K. Greer's 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card, but even with those and other gems well highlighted and dog-eared in my library I wanted to start checking out more of what some of the newer books had to say. I often look for books with a different angle or a unique twist to tarot since books on card meanings and spreads have little personal interest for me at this point. This is why Psychic Tarot by Nancy Antenucci and Melanie Howard caught my eye. As someone who is an intuitive reader books that address the psychic side of reading always interest me.

Psychic Tarot: Using Your Natural Psychic Abilities to Read the Cards is an interesting read, but not for the reasons I had originally anticipated it would be. While the book's title might lead you to believe that this is a book on tarot reading I would definitely say this is secondary to this being a book on psychic development. This isn't necessarily a bad thing! In fact I think that putting this emphasis within a tarot book is important because so many tarot readers, especially beginners, shy away from reading the cards in any way other than with the meanings and methods outlined in most of the books on traditional reading. As someone who personally views tarot as a mirror to the Divine Self I find it key to learn to read the cards with the Sight, as Antenucci and Howard put it.

But, again, tarot is somewhat secondary to the emphasis on learning to develop the skills to read as an intuitive or psychic reader. The authors use the cards as the tool or focus for the psychic development exercises in the book. This is one of the things that I particularly love about this book is the number of exercises and practical tools that are presented to the reader. Rather than just telling what you should do, Antenucci and Howard show you how to them and how to work with them beyond just the tarot reading setting. So again, this gives the book more of a psychic development tone,but what they give you definitely are tools well suited to a tarot reader that wants to be more than a reader that just memorizes card meanings.

One thing that I really appreciate about this book is that, while images of the Rider-Waite Smith deck are found in a few places, there is no emphasis on the images in the specific cards making it easier for the reader to take the information presented and feel free to use it with any deck without having to make modifications. In fact, focusing on the specific images found in your own deck you have chosen is stressed during exercises that focus on learning to see and read the cards literally, symbolically, and psychically.

In later chapters of the book there are sample readings that show you how to apply the different skills and the six principles of reading that are presented throughout the book. These will certainly help to put things in perspective for many new readers, and the chapter demonstrating tarot reading verses psychic reading verses blended reading was a delight to read; it's nice to see workable examples of how to perform psychic readings without the cards while showing someone who may want to delve into this form that, yes, it is possible with the right tools and the right amount of practice, patience, and time.

Toward the end of the book there is a section featuring reference images of all 78 cards from Lo Scarabeo's Universal Tarot and a wonderful self study guide that lays out all the key exercises and points from the book in a handful of pages making it the perfect quick reference.

Overall I would say this is a really nice book for readers that are ready to take their skills to another level and get out of the habit of relying on memorization or feeling tied to the Little White Book that came with their deck. The book is easy to read, laid out in a simple and practical format, and has plenty of anecdotes and examples to keep it from feeling dry or impersonal.